Practice, Practice, Practice
By Bob Popp
Well bass season has ended and for some it's time to go hunting; for others cabin fever sets in. There are many things you can do to improve your fishing instead of sitting around dreaming of the bass season to come. One thing to do is to practice flipping and pitching. When I say practice I mean intense practice not just go through the motions.
These practice sessions will not only improve your physical aspect of the sport but also the mental aspect as well, I will explain how.
What I mean by intense practice is the old saying "Practice make perfect" is NOT true but "Perfect practice makes perfect". You need to set a time to practice everyday - even if it is only 10-15 minutes - but make sure it is a time when you can devote 100% effort to do it. Don't just go through the motions.
I suggest using the rods and reels that you use most often, not only your baitcast tackle but spinning tackle as well. You need to know how to flip and pitch with both to become versatile.
One mistake anglers make is when they practice, they use the same rod, reel, line, and weight. Use all of your equipment. This will prepare you for any situation you may face. I suggest buying some bass casting sinkers - the kind with the swivel. Sizes 1/8-1 oz. Tie a snap swivel on each rod. You can then switch weights easily while practicing.
Also make sure you practice using different size line, to get the feel for all weights on different size line.
I have set up a practice course, using the containers whipped topping comes in. They are the perfect size. Fill each one about ¾ with water and place each one on newspaper. The whole object is to pitch and flip the bait into the container without splashing water on the paper. When you can do this, it is time to try a different weight and continue this procedure until you have practiced using all of your rod and reel combinations.
One very important point is to PRACTICE FLIPPING AND PITCHING WITH BOTH YOUR LEFT AND RIGHT HAND. Most do not do this and this is a critical mistake. You want to be prepared for all situations you may encounter and by practicing this, it improves your confidence.
How can practicing prepare you mentally? Once you have perfected your skill, you now know what it takes to make a perfect flip or pitch. As you proceed you can now visualize the perfect flip and pitch. Visualization is a very powerful tool, use it in all aspects of your angling, you will be glad you did.
One other tip: It is critical that your bait falls straight to the bottom and not pendulum back toward you. The easiest way to do this is what I call "Bowing to the bass". Once your bait hits the water, immediately bow toward your bait, this will throw enough slack in your line so that your bait falls straight to the bottom.
Well I hope this helps cure your cabin fever and remember "Perfect practice makes perfect"